Medicine in Your Shrubbery

Medicine in Your Shrubbery

A shrub, by my definition, is larger than normal herbs but not the size of trees. They are perennials, but don’t lose their leaves. We like to use them to define property lines, walkways and to decorate the outside of our houses. Here are a few examples, along with information about whether or not they are healthy.

Black Haw:

In some areas, this shrub can be a small tree, but more often it is smaller. Traditional uses for black haw include menopause, false labor and high blood pressure. As it is considered an antispasmodic, it is often used for asthma. Very few studies have been done, so use caution if you try this herb. Don’t use it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


The pleasant scent and subtle beauty of this plant makes it a favorite of many gardeners, but it has other uses. Both the tea and the aroma from it can ease stress and anxiety. Aromatherapists use essential oils of lavender for this purpose. It can also be added to a bath.


Stately privet hedges are often used as a privacy hedge, as they can grow quite tall. They can also be shaped, enhancing the property it protects. Unfortunately, if it’s ingested, it can kill. If you have small children or pets that chew on plants (like a dog playing fetch), keep an eye out that they don’t put any part of this shrub in their mouths.


The aroma of roses can set a romantic mood, whether it’s the flowers, scented candles or aromatherapy oils. The ripe hips of this bush are edible and have quite a few uses. They have quite a few antioxidants, and are very high in Vitamin C. They can be made into a jelly with a faintly apple flavor. After all, they are closely related to the apple tree. The white pith inside is bitter, so if you are preparing it to be eaten, you might want to remove that and any seeds.

Make sure you check with your doctor before starting a new supplement, even one as mild as rose hips. While most people will have no problems, there are always side effects, precautions and drug interactions to consider.

The Author:

Mary Bodel has been a master herbalist since 2004 although my training began long before I reached that level. I believe that health encompasses more than taking care of our bodies. It involves everything from what we eat to what we read. It involves our spirit as well as our body. This is why you will see a variety of books and articles on my page.


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